Several restaurants have been forced to close in the Cornish resort of St Ives amid a surge in coronavirus cases thought to be linked to the recent G7 summit.
At least six eateries in the seaside town shut up shop in the space of just a week to protect customers and staff after two police officers tested positive for the virus.
It will come as a huge blow to the town, which has already been hit by lockdown closures and hoped to recover some of the losses from peak tourist trade.
Closure signs began cropping up in the windows of businesses even in the days before the summit as preparations saw temporary police camps set up to house thousands of officers.
Blas Burgerworks was one of the first to announce it was closing for the week due to G7 disruption.
Owner Lisa Taylor said cancelled deliveries and traffic delays during the international confernce — one employee living in nearby Lelant calculated it would take three hours to get to work — as reasons for closure.
“Honestly, thank god we did,” she said. “The impact on us as a business has been enormous. We feel that we shouldn’t reopen at this time due to the safety of our staff.”
A few days later, a small eatery on Tregenna Hill announced its closure with a hastily-written piece of paper in the window.
Then on Friday — the first official day of the summit — similar notices began to appear in the in window of businesses around the harbour.
The hotel and restaurant Pedn Olva, perched just above Porthminster beach and only a mile from summit headquarters in Carbis Bay, announced its closure due to a number of staff testing positive with the virus.
A spokesperson from St Austell Brewery, which owns the venue, was unable to confirm reports that some supporting workers for international delegations had been due to stay, but said it “will reopen once a full Covid-19 deep clean has taken place and we have the available staff to run it”.
The Covid rate in Cornwall increased by almost 800 per cent between the week ending 26 May compared to the seven days to 9 June.
Adding to concern has been the temporary arrival of an extra 5,500 plice officers from other parts of the UK, most of them housed together in cramped, purpose-built camps with shared toilet facilities.
“St Ives is a small town and many individuals rely on the hospitality industry for their income,” said Ms Taylor, adding: “It’s just another blow in what’s already been a difficult 18 months for the community.”